May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Romans 15:13

When asked what the primary objective of life is, most people will answer, “to be happy”. In fact, many people arrange their entire lives around trying to be happy.

Society tells us that if we’re happy, we’ll be healthier and may even live longer. Sounds great!

Happiness by itself is certainly not a bad thing.

However, relying on it to make ourselves feel better day after day is not only missing the mark, it’s dangerous for our souls. The reason?

Happiness is only triggered by external forces like people, places, things, or events. It’s temporary and certainly not anything we can rely upon to get us through our most difficult days.

Joy, on the other hand, is the essence of God’s character and resides deep in our spirit.

It’s the result of God’s endless mercy and grace, fully realized through praise and worship, as well as prayer and meditation. When we pursue God and spend quality time with Him, we experience joy in His presence. And this joy is freely available to anyone, no matter what.

Consider King David, one of the greatest leaders of ancient Israel, yet a man of significant transgression.

He knew this about himself yet was still able to sing praises to the Lord. In Psalm 65:4 (NLT) he writes, “What joy for those you choose to bring near, those who live in your holy courts.

No matter what we’ve done, God welcomes us into His presence. This closeness to Him changes us, makes us more aware of the plans He has for us and brings abundant joy.

Have you mistaken happiness for joy? Today, make time for God. Pray, give thanks, and welcome Him into your daily routine.


Today’s author: Mark Henderson—Founder of The Inspired Legacy

Mark is a creative professional with more than 20 years experience in the fields of web design and advertising. He also serves as the chief content officer at The Inspired Legacy, an online ministry dedicated to shining a light on God’s gift of parenthood. The organization aims to inspire and equip fathers to boldly lead their families, love their kids unconditionally, and leave a legacy of grown children that carry on these same traditions. Mark resides in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with his wife, Kimberly. Together, they have three children, two girls, and one boy.